Lag B’Omer / Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Emor
Lichvod dearest White Shul Members, עמו׳׳ש:
Shalom U’vracha, and A Gutten Erev Shabbos Kodesh to you and your wonderful families.
על אלה אני בוכיה, עיני עיני ירדה מים…
There are tragic, truly catastrophic times when we feel that all we can really do is cry. מה נאמר ומה נדבר… Inundated by relentless waves of grief, engulfed in indescribable pain, there are simply no words to capture the magnitude of the loss we all now feel upon hearing the devastating news from Meron.
So many karbanos, the heart-wrenching loss of pure and pristine neshamos taken from us in their prime, lists of the injured so painfully long. And at one of our most holy and cherished sites, all in the midst of what typically is a joyous and uplifting time. Oy, Hashem Yerachem Aleinu! נסתרים דרכי ה׳…
My dear אהובי ורעי: Let’s not waste valuable time trying to satisfy our innate curiosity to uncover all the details, to determine what precisely went wrong, who were the guilty parties, etc.; such scrutiny is the onus of others. Our responsibility lies in delving deep within ourselves to discover what spiritual areas warrant an immediate tikkun, what foibles need further fixing, what middos require rectification. We must wake up and work on ourselves like never before– individually and collectively.
And we must cry. We must learn to muster the ability to sincerely feel for others, to fully commiserate and empathize, and to cry out together with the victims and their families in their suffering. To live a life that perpetually bespeaks עמו אנכי בצרה. And to daven and cry for אחינו בני ישראל from the depths of our hearts.
Let us turn quickly to the following true story:
There was a couple married for many years, suffering the agony of barrenness, yearning incessantly for a child to cradle in their arms. The husband informed his wife one day that he wished to divorce and marry another with whom he could bear children. But his wife was not willing to accept such a fate. Instead, she davened fervently and shed copious tears to be blessed with a child together with her devout husband.
On Rosh HaShana night, the husband had a dream. He found himself in an orchard, surrounded by myriad trees of all sizes, and was suddenly leaning on a small tree without any fruit. He understood that the tree represented none other than himself; no fruit, no children. A mal’ach then entered the orchard carrying a bucket filled with water, and soon began watering the various trees.
The man quickly understood that the mal’ach was Hashem‘s messenger to provide children for the upcoming year: a tree that was watered will bear fruit that year. Oh, how he wished the mal’ach would also pour from his special waters on his awaiting sapling. Lo and behold, the angel arrived by the foot of his tree and put down his barrel of water. He then removed a small jug from his sack and poured its contents upon the tree. The tree immediately sprouted and blossomed, and a beautiful fruit emerged.
When he awoke, he ran to tell his wife about the dream– and they both understood it hinted to good tidings. On Motzai Rosh HaShana, he shared the dream’s contents with his illustrious Rebbe, who informed them they would indeed merit a child that very year. He then asked his Rebbe, “why didn’t the angel water my tree from the barrel with which he watered all the others? What was the significance of the small jug he used instead?”
The pious Rebbe explained: “The jug wasn’t filled with water. It was filled with your beloved wife’s tears– the same tears she shed to merit having your child. And in the zechus of those precious tears, you will soon be blessed with a holy child.”
That year, Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai was born.
The father was Yochai, and the Rebbe was the renowned Rebbe Akiva.
And this powerful story shared by the Nachlas Avos reminds us of the potency of heartfelt tears.
שערי דמעות לא ננעלו.
The gates of tears are never closed. We can teach ourselves to cry– for ourselves and, yes, for others about whom we deeply care. And we can bring great things into this world. Refuos, yeshuos, and besuros tovos— for us and for all of Klal Yisroel.
This Lag B’Omer we are shedding an abundance of tears. Let’s never despair, never lose hope, NEVER stop trusting in the Ribbono Shel Olam and His bountiful love and benevolence towards us.
We never, ever, ever give up! HaKB”H has a masterplan we simply don’t understand, but our tears– especially for others in the midst of their pain and suffering– will truly help expedite the Geula Shi’leima. A time when all tears will finally cease, and we will celebrate joyously together with Mashiach Tzidkeinu once and for all. Bim’heira bi’yameinu amen vi’amen!
Have a most meaningful and inspiring Shabbos Kodesh and only Kol Tuv selah,
Rabbi Eytan Feiner